Whether you use Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Slack to speak with your team, there is always more to know about running meetings with increased efficiency. We all know what it is like when we have had a colleague try to troubleshoot a Zoom call during the allotted meeting time, only for the meeting to go 15-20 minutes over. The last thing you want to demonstrate to your colleagues or employer is that you are learning how to use the software on the company’s dime while everybody else on the call. In that scenario, not only are you learning something that you should’ve prepared for in advance, but you are also costing time for every one of your colleagues on the call. If your call has 30 people on it and you use five minutes to troubleshoot issues on your end, you may have indirectly cost your company hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Out of respect to our colleagues, we should prepare for our calls going through the following procedure:
- How to test our audio and video connection to our software
- Test your internet connection and speed
- Make sure that your environment is tidy and professional
- Make sure that you have a meeting agenda set in mind in advance
Test your Video Camera Connection
To test your video connection to your software, please do the following: Go into your preferred software’s settings or preferences tab. On the side panel, you should see an option for choosing your video and audio source. Click on your preferred microphone and camera. You would be surprised by how many clients buy an expensive webcam or camcorder and forget to follow this simple step.
Test your Internet Connection and Speed
Test your internet connection and speed by going to speedtest.net. Speedtest.net has servers in dozens of different countries, so if you are on the road a lot, it’s best to test your hotel wifi before hosting any big conference call. Try to have a connection of at least 10 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload. The smaller the ping number is, the less of a delay between yourself and your audience members. If you have a ping of 250+ ms (milliseconds), your colleagues may find the lag distracting when communicating. Even if your internet provider states they have a lower ping time, the ping can fluctuate from low to high, causing an uncomfortable lag for viewers.
Tidy up Your Physical Environment
Oftentimes, we don’t consider our backdrop and environment enough. In recent emails and blog posts, you may have noticed that we emphasize the importance of using your physical environment versus having a digital backdrop. When you use the default backdrops and software provided by modern conferencing apps, you will notice jarring artifacts that distract general viewers. As a rule, the fewer distractions you present to your audience, the better. Make sure that the physical environment that viewers can see is attractive, professional, and clean. Let’s say you have your dirty laundry in the corner or your kids chasing each other in the background. In that case, it communicates to others on call that your at-home life is untidy and chaotic.
Set up a Meeting Agenda in Advance
Set an agenda in advance. When you set an agenda for the meetings you host in advance, it gives participants time to contemplate and consider how their time is best spent. Giving them a heads up about what you’ll be speaking about is not only respectful but encourages your team to be active participants. If you or your team members aren’t 100% clear about the objective of a meeting, then it increases the odds that they will not be active participants or listeners. By setting an agenda in advance, you will also have an opportunity to clarify the most important subjects to discuss right away. This way, colleagues can get back to their primary work tasks. If you do this right, your colleagues will likely appreciate and enjoy the meetings you host.
The more you focus on preparing your conferences in advance, the more respect you will command from your audience.
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